Oakland Not Lacking Talent, Their Lacking RAIDER Mentality.

Terrell White – Oct 4, 2017

Holla At Me Raider Nation!

As we end the first quarter of the season, I must admit that I'm not feeling very confident (how could I?) about the direction the team is currently headed in. It's not the back to back losses that bother me. I wasn't expecting to go undefeated this season. It's the manor in which the Raiders have lost these last two games that has me concerned. Where was their fight? Where was their energy? Their Intensity? The take no prisoners Raider mentality? 

First, we have that prime time debacle against the Washington Redskins. I'm not going to get into too much detail, we all know what happened. My problem/question is, how does a team with (true) Super Bowl aspirations play so poorly, in a nationally televised game?? Moreover, how do the Raiders play so poorly in a national televised game? W.T.F?!?!?

At 2-0 the stage was set for Oakland to make an early season statement about being taken as a serious contender. However, that road game in Washington was an embarrassing loss. As far as I know, true Super Bowl contenders don't suffer embarrassing losses. Want proof? When was the last time you saw the New England Patriots (who seem to always be Super Bowl contenders) embarrassed (the way the Raiders were) in a loss?

Furthermore, after that eye patch kicking the squad took in Washington how does the team respond the following week? With yet another lack luster performance. Now, I know that the team was a bit banged up. Defensive back David Amerson was lost. In harmony with that, the Raiders still haven't really seen what first round pick defensive back Gareon Conley can do. On offense we were without wide receiver Michael Crabtree. However, as I stated it's not the games lost, it's the way the team has performed in these losses that is cause for concern.

Coaching Staff.

The three words that sum up my current feelings about the Oakland coaching staff are: (1) Lack (2) of (3) preparation. Sunday night in Washington, the Redskins were prepared for a fight!! The Raiders appeared to be ready for... I don't know what they appeared to be ready for!! I do know that the last thing that appeared to be on their mind (from what I could see) was being involved in a competitive football game.

That brothers and sisters is a direct refection on coaching!! The staff (in my opinion) just did not prepare this team for the intensity that Washington brought to the table; Which is something that I still don't understand. Knowing that the Redskins had already lost at home, and seeing how they played the week before, the Raiders staff should have been ready to go to war!! However, all we got was poor play calling, non existence in game / half time adjustments, and game mismanagement. Do I  really need to go on?

Raiders On O.

These last couple of games has to have everyone wondering what has happened to the high powered Raider offense? Aside from terrible game planning; Poor play execution for one. An inability to convert on 3rd down for another. Speaking of, did the team convert a meaningful 3rd down in Washington? If my memory serves (I've tried to block out most of, if not all of the Washington game) the team was a perfect 0 for 11 on 3rd downs Last Sunday night.

Things didn't get much better the following Sunday against Denver. On one 3rd & 16 play Sunday in Denver they just dumped the pass off, no real effort to convert. On another 3rd & 16 play Carr would hit his tight end Jared Cook; However, he would end up being just short of the first down.

With it now being 4th & 1, team down by 10, you would think that after head coach Jack Del-Rio made the call to go for it on 4th down that the team would be fired up! They weren't, and on 4th & 1 Marshawn Lynch got chewed up, and swallowed. Raiders punt; Which would be (and has been) the story of the last two games; The Raiders get chewed, and swallowed up.

Oakland quarterback Derek Carr was playing like he was injured, way before he actually got injured. He's been off target early, and often over the last couple of games; Let's not forget the only reason wide receiver Michael Crabtree was inactive for the Denver game, was because Carr almost got him killed with one (of his many) off target passes in the contest against Washington!

Derek Carr however, isn't the only high profile player on the offense that is having early season struggles; We need to call the police, and put out an all points bulletin because wide receiver Amari Cooper has gone missing!! Cooper has dropped more passes this season, then he's caught!! We need this kid to dominate games, not disappear in them!! Cliff Branch, he's not! Furthermore, I'm personally not calling running back Marshawn Lynch "beast mode" anymore. Marshawn has been so ineffective that the Oakland offense is giving wide receiver Cordelle Patterson touches at running back!?! W.T.F.?!?!

Have we spoken about how terrible the offensive line has been? What happened? Donald Penn gets a fat new contract, and the big boys decides that it's time for them to go on vacation? Last Sunday against Washington when Derek Carr wasn't missing wide open targets (or getting them killed) he was under pressure, and getting sacked. Denver may not have matched the sack total of Washington however, they still made sure that it appeared that the Raider offensive line was caught with their pants down, and their eye patches up. 

A few factors contributed to the Raiders having a prolific offense last season; Aggressive play calling, outstanding offensive line play, & an effective performance by the quarterback. However, those elements that fueled the Raider offense last season, have yet to really ignite this year, and has to cause for concern.

Raiders On D.

It would seem the problems that haunted the Raiders defense last season, have followed them into this one. Real Talk: The Oakland defense, as a whole is a HOT MESS!! Poor run defense; Both Washington & Denver ran the ball when & where they wanted all game long. The Oakland defense also (as was the case last season) has a non existence (with the exception of K. Mack) pass rush. Where are you Brue Irvin?? I'm getting the feeling Bruce, that you're over rated, and benefited from being on that stacked defense in Seattle; You've yet to prove me wrong.

Opposing quarterbacks K. Cousins & T. Siemian both had plenty of time to survey the field, and find open targets. The lack of a pass rush, combined with our still questionable secondary had both quarterbacks looking like all pros against our defense.

I spoke earlier about how the Oakland offense can't convert on 3rd downs; Well, it would seem that their not the only unit that is struggling on 3rd downs. The Raider defense can't seem to find a way to stop their opponents from consistently converting on 3rd downs. Simply put, the Raiders defense can't find a way to get off the field!!

I keep wanting, and hoping (as do we all)  that defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. can finally find a way to channel some of the fire he had as a player into his coaching; However, that keeps looking like a wish that will never come true.

Against both the Redskins & Broncos Norton Jr. had no answers. With head coach Jack Del-Rio having made his bone being a defensive specialists, and the team adding John Pagano to the staff you have wonder how can the Raider defense be as bad as it is?

However, we can't put all the blame on the coaching staff; After all, players have got to -- make plays!! Which is also something the Raider defense has been struggling with. Why can't this unit create turnovers?? How is it that our line backing corp. still struggles with covering tight ends, and running backs?? What is going on with defensive backs Sean Smith, and David Amerson? Where is the defensive intensity?

End Game.

The Raiders right now are struggling all across the board. Off the field it's poor coaching; Problems with the game plan(s) & making the correct adjustments. On the field the team is struggling in all three facets of the game.

The offense: can't seem to sustain drives, convert on 3rd down, and score points. The defense: can't stop the run, pressure the quarterback, or create turnovers. Special teams: Along with that ridiculous fake punt the team ran on Sunday, they also have been giving up too much return yardage; Hell, the unit was lucky to have that 60 yard punt return by Broncos #84 McKenzie against them get called back because of a holding penalty. Bottom line, Raider opponents are getting great starting field positon, and are (unlike the Raiders) making the most out of their opportunities.

I don't know, maybe the Raiders were under the impression that because of the way that last season ended, they would just get an automatic playoff bid; Real Talk: If the Raiders really do have aspirations of bringing a Super Bowl Championship to the city of Oakland, before they depart to Vegas, the franchise better rediscover that Raider mentality, and get its act together NOW.

Raider From Birth.

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